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Historic Southwest

Pueblo culture developed out of the Anasazi culture and continued the same basic mode of life, elaborated with inventions and innovations and enriched by diffusion from alien cultures. Among the important developments were the introduction of cotton cloth, the building of above-ground houses of stone and adobe masonry, and the improvement of pottery. The Pueblo people were experimenting at this time in the building of houses, but the trend was toward multiroom pueblos of stone and adobe masonry. The old pit houses persisted as ceremonial chambers called kivas. Villages were usually located on the tops of mesas or at the edges of canyons. Pottery was of two general types: culinary wares in which coils of clay were pinched to produce a corrugated effect and decorated wares with black designs in elaborate patterns on a white background. In the southwest, as nowhere else in Indian America, all that is vital in life remains as it was, timeless. By the middle of the 16th century, most of the tribes were living where they are now, or nearby. Some were settled in permanent villages; strong tribal organization and a rich ceremonial life gave them unity and purpose. Because much of the land was in desert or mountain country unwanted for white settlement, the southwestern Indians were not hustled off to far-away reservations. The many tribes who live on this rugged and beautiful land share a vision of life, a felt sense of continuity with a tradition that has survived years of foreign domination. Here we have the oldest continuous record of human habitation on the North American continent outside Mexico. The evidence is everywhere, in potsherds and pit houses that go back hundreds of years, in petroglyphs and chipped stone tools fashioned millenniums ago. Pottery making and the cultivation of corn, beans, and squash had come up to the southwest from Mexico centuries before the dawn of Christianity. In Bat Cave, New Mexico, a primitive corn some five thousand years old has been found, along with the tools of the Indians who used it. By the beginning of the Christian era, three cultures were forming in the southwest: the Hohokam, the Mogollon, and the Pueblo. The Hohokam had grown up along the Salt and Gila Rivers in southern Arizona, a land which can be most inhospitable; but the Hohokam adapted well to their seared landscape, constructing a system of irrigation canals that remains their most impressive legacy. These ancient people were succeeded on the land by the Pima and Papago, who may even be their direct descendants. The Pima farmed and hunted; the desert-dwelling Papago – the bean people – were named for the only crop that would grow in dry summers. The games and ceremonies of the Pima and Papago whisper of ties with Mexico; their language is related to Aztec. North of the Gila River, up close to timberline, roamed the hunters, gatherers, and raiders – the Upland Yuman. They and their relatives the River Yuman, close neighbors of the Hohokam, believed that the spirit of the dead could be released by cremation. The ceremony was held in the open: As the flames rose higher and higher around the funeral pyre, mourners gathered to throw in offerings to their dead relatives. Sometimes women, wailing and moaning, ripped off their own clothes and threw them in the flames. The Mogollon culture centered in the rugged mountains of western New Mexico and eastern Arizona. The Mimbres people, who represent the culture's highest development, created the finest pottery designs of any Indians north of Mexico. But Mimbres architecture and other cultural artifacts are not as impressive. By the present millennium – before the passing of the Hohokam – the Mimbres had been absorbed by another culture to the north, one that survives today after hundreds of years in the same ancient homeland. This heritage of the past groups many tribes speaking different languages and dialects. They live in villages of multistoried houses that are responsible for the name they now bear. The conquistadores called the tribes Pueblos, the Spanish word for "towns." The Pueblo culture reached a climax in the Four Corners area – where Colorado and Utah meet Arizona and New Mexico – from the 10 th through the 13th century. Then flourished the architectural wonders of Canyon de Chelly and Mesa Verde: penthouses of stone and masonry clinging to cliffs like swallows' nests.

He led an army prepared to seize the treasure-laden cities. De Niza's report to the Spanish viceroy describing a town “larger than the city of Mexico”. especially among the Hopi. with an exchange of gifts by the two families. he attacked. moving the stones to the music. from which women were usually excluded. Instead of gold and jewels Coronado found a “little. crowded village. although divorce and remating were fairly frequent. a paper-thin bread. and “cocks with great hanging chins” – turkeys. he thought that he had found the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola. the ancient land of the Hopi. either he had seen the town from a great distance or he had not seen it at all.. content in their close-knit village life. chili peppers. At Isleta Pueblo. the first European to view a pueblo. but when a shower of arrows struck his ranks. settled by oppressed Christians from Moorish Spain. and cotton. squash. Stones and arrows were no match for Spanish armor and harquebus. the conquerors set out for Acoma and Tusayan. of which there was a great abundance”. * When Fray Marcos de Niza. If a boy wanted a girl to be his bride. The peaceful Pueblos. The Spaniards saw young men living in underground council chambers – kivas – and women plastering their adobe houses and grinding corn. After plundering the town's food stores. there were elaborate festivities. a drought haunted the southwest. When a wedding followed. Black-haired Pueblo matrons. crumpled all up together” – this was Cibola! The Zuni warriors stood ready to defend their town. he would make a "bundle" for her – clothing and fine white buckskin moccasins. Nomadic tribes may have begun to drift down from the north. Most adult males also performed religious and secular duties in the kiva. its houses inlaid with “turquoise stones. this meant killing a Navajo. where they owned the houses and fields. You have good luck for you are women. Smoking the dried leaves in a "cloud blower" – clay pipe – was ceremonial rather than pleasurable or relaxing.” He noted that some marriages were arranged by village elders. The Hopi village of Oraibi was humming with life 500 years before the English settled Jamestown. Children became members of the mother's clan and inherited property through her. then as now. where there are no permanent watercourses. saw the Zuni village of Hawikuh from a high hill in 1539. It still is. many of which live on today in the more conservative villages. Tewa warriors sang to their wives: So we have bad luck for we are men. that the groom wove a blanket to place before his bride. and fruit trees.. The Spanish harbored an old legend that told of seven cities. Only the Hopi. The chronicler Castaneda wrote: “A man sits at the door playing on a fife”. still hoping to find the elusive golden treasure. Coronado was reluctant to start a fight. rich in gold and jewels. Hunting parties stalked deer and antelope. near present-day Albuquerque. A Hopi husband who found his possessions stacked outside the door knew that he was not expected to return. Women enjoyed a privileged place in society.Toward the last quarter of the 13th century. The men of the pueblos put in long hours cultivating corn. fashioned pots of coiled clay or bent over stone slabs baking piki. Varieties of tobacco grew wild in Pueblo country. They sprinkled sacred cornmeal in a line and warned the Spaniards not to cross. Youths could smoke only when they proved they were good hunters. he admired the Indians' glazed pottery. the Pueblos' traditional enemy to the north. relying on the accounts of friendly Indians.. and the Pueblo people moved southeast to the Rio Grande and its tributaries. beans. brought Francisco Vasquez de Coronado up from Mexico. which he left on her doorstep. wrapped in dark blankets fastened to leave the left shoulder bare. and communal rabbit hunts were organized in most villages. . The Spaniards turned eastward to explore along the Rio Grande. If they were accepted. But the friar's tale proved to be exaggerated. Coronado's expedition provided a glimpse into traditional Pueblo ways. inexplicably hung on to their mesa-top villages in northeastern Arizona. adultery was punished by public whipping. the women grind and sing. went to war only when necessary – to defend themselves or to avenge a raid by enemy Indians. so was he. cotton cloth. melons. Pueblo marriage was monogamous. Later they learned from the Spanish to plant wheat.. At Taos and Acoma.

Among the Hopi. and the Pueblos went to Mass. The Pueblos learned to build this way. In 1598 both the western and the Rio Grande pueblos again felt the heavy hand of Spanish imperialism. only one mission was reestablished. from Taos to Hopi. the friar in charge of the missionary program reported in 1630 that 90 chapels had been built in as many towns. or conflict with the Spanish. Located farther west in desert and mesa country are the "western" pueblos – Acoma. hurrying through enemy country. to cure disease. was invulnerable to attack by Indians. the others were abandoned because of chronic drought. Before a counterattack could be organized. The Pueblo warriors would attack at dawn. successfully united to cast off the Spanish yoke. Laguna. Out of 33 friars assigned to the province. bringing good instead of evil. during the long centuries when they lived in every habitat from treeless desert to timbered mountain slopes. sometimes tipped with rattlesnake venom. Its inhabitants "spent all that night in huge dances and carousals. Acoma resisted. for a scalp was dangerous and full of supernatural power. and that 60. they shot arrows. As a result. had subdued the Indians again and restored the church. transgressors whipped or executed.To Navajo camps we go. challenging the army to fight. The conquest and colonization of New Mexico began under Juan de Onate. was suppressed. and the Hopi villages. * In Coronado's time. By 1694 a new governor. Farewell! Their weapons were arrows. repudiating everything foreign. or to vanquish enemies. becoming initiated members of the Cult of the War Gods. but only to please their oppressors. and in 1680 the villages. even the distant Hopi. high on its mesa. rations for the journey. the Rio Grande descends rapidly and the valley opens up until the mountains of the west recede into the distance. but survived. which had been the focus of life for centuries. From Taos. who ruthlessly put down opposition to his program. circular piece from the top of the head. the northernmost pueblo. and during that period the Indians went back to native ways. but the people speak four mutually unintelligible languages. These villages are strikingly similar on the surface. Diego de Vargas. Christianity languished. shouting. Though the Pueblos shunned violence. the Indians did not understand a god who came down to earth offering eternal life. the warriors fled. After three days of fierce resistance. back to the pueblo. 21 had been killed in the rebellion. they did not enter but camped outside. hissing. Native rites went underground. about 90 pueblos were inhabited. whether built of sandstone on bluffs or of adobe on the banks of the Rio Grande. Their own religion was more practical: Special priesthoods existed to insure a successful hunt or a bountiful harvest. like beads on a crooked string. gouging out a small. The revolt was a stunning though temporary defeat for the Spanish. If they were carrying scalps. Acoma surrendered. were fewer in number now and lacked authority to suppress Pueblo rites. exulting in their freedom to worship the old gods. The war priest held ceremonies for as long as three nights to guarantee the expedition's success and the warriors' safe return. however. from their belts hung a bag of pinole – meal made from roasted corn. All the towns. Zuni. The scalp must be cleansed and then it became a friend. . intertribal warfare. their "idolatrous" ceremonies forbidden. The other pueblos in New Mexico submitted peaceably and the Franciscan friars could begin the "harvest of souls. rushing on surprised enemies as they came stumbling out of their shelters. Pueblo ceremonies were more elaborate than those of any other Indians north of Mexico. When attacking from a distance. it could not withstand Spanish gunfire. The priests. and stone knives. clubs. ready for war. Zuni warriors who had taken scalps took part in a dance ceremony. Fourteen years passed before New Mexico was reconquered.000 Indians had been converted to Christianity." The Indians' native religion. Today there are only 30. have one common characteristic: They blend with their surroundings. For approximately a hundred miles. Though the pueblo. to be architecturally unobtrusive. They took a few scalps. the many injustices suffered under Spanish rule were intolerable." wrote a Spanish observer. pledged to defend the village against all enemies. are located the pueblos dependent on the Rio Grande and its tributaries. and making merry.

they borrow men's bodies and come down from their sacred mountains to visit the villages. shaking his rattle. all adult males. If this is done. the chiefs of religious societies meet in the kivas to purify themselves and perform dances to keep the rain falling and the crops growing. Murals and carvings found in New Mexico attest that the kachina cult is at least 600 years old. With eagle's mist garment With the striped cloud wings And massed cloud tails Of all the birds of summer… "Kachina" means three things: a spirit the Hopi believe in. . At festival times. the supernaturals will dispense the blessings of life. religious rituals must be performed correctly. The people think of the masked gods as companions who come to the village to exchange favors. The Pueblo Indian's ancient religion still pervades his life. Pueblo festivals often combine traditional Indian dances and Christian pageantry. At age seven to ten boys and girls are initiated into the kachina cult and learn (if they did not know) that the impersonators are their relatives and neighbors. and bits of shell. while personal milestones like birth. to beaming children. The center of the cosmos is sipapu. but lessons to be studied. In Indian belief. Priests of the kachina cult. but also feel themselves part of the tribe's sacred tradition. adding beak. and enforcing discipline. don masks and impersonate the gods. Girls take less active roles. regulated. and the Indian worshipers are pleased. awarding gifts. ceremonies center on the masked kachinas. Thereafter. his ancestors' place of emergence from the dark underworld. under control. he who wears the mask of a kachina loses his own identity and becomes the spirit. Many Pueblos are Catholic communicants. bounded by sacred mountains in the four cardinal directions. but the old ways are not forgotten. For the Tewa. The sound mingles with the music of a Christian hymn. keep sacred images in their houses. puberty. But all Pueblos have a place of emergence. Between dances the kachinas present the dolls. Before a ceremony. bringing rain and fertility. feathers. they hang on the wall at home as constant reminders. and recite Christian prayers in Spanish. according to tradition.animate and inanimate – have a place in the cosmos. Within these boundaries life must be harmonious. The rain maker priests… Will make their roads come hither….. and a carved and painted likeness – the kachina doll. for the Zuni. marriage and even death receive scant attention.. Pueblos believe the kachinas are supernatural beings. Kachina Among the Hopi and Zuni. or turquoise. or horns. Yonder from the north. the mind free of evil thoughts. boys may participate in ceremonies. especially on the patron saint's day assigned each village by the missionaries.Today. In this harsh land where insufficient rain may mean starvation. He believes that all things . the undulating rhythms of nature govern existence. A visitor may see a deer dancer wearing antlers leave the plaza and enter the church. Like their prehistoric ancestors. a masked impersonator. Prayer sticks decorated with feathers are planted at holy places – in fields and at springs – to carry prayers aloft to the spirits: Now this very day For the rite of our fathers… We have prepared plumed wands. the center is a lake in Colorado. spirits of their much-loved ancestors. ears. it is on the edge of their own ancient village. dangling from their wrists and fingers. fathers and uncles busy themselves creating the sculpture from blocks of cottonwood root. To the Pueblos the dolls are not idols to be worshiped.

dolls. The onlookers are content to be there. Grotesque shadows leap upward around the dancers. threaten to carry off disobedient children. dancing kachinas perform inside the kivas. One. or ever again. or clowns. watching. a live rattlesnake clamped in his teeth. A loud stamping on the roof overhead announces their arrival. The kachinas enter the plaza and distribute gifts – bows and arrows. writhing "like soft. Mudheads. they stamp and gyrate rhythmically. Supernatural beings encountered after the Hopi had emerged from the dark underworld. children peer upward in awe and anticipation as the spirits rapidly descend the ladder. Powamu begins at dawn when the Crow Mother kachina. Power to increase fertility in man or beast gives the spirits license to joke obscenely. the sacred clowns mask their serious purpose and delight villagers with pantomime and ribald horseplay. and baskets of sprouted beans for each household. circles the village plaza four times followed by a "hugger. animals. The elders confess to the gods on behalf of the people. But they also promise to try harder in the year ahead. The eyes of the old ones are not entirely dry as they implored the gods not to forget the people. piki bread. watery lightning. appears at the shrine on the edge of the village. the kossa invokes supernatural gifts at Tewa ceremonies to protect the pueblo from enemies. faces blackened with soot and chins daubed with white clay. acknowledging that they have been weak. ogres. Later in the day. Kossa (sacred clowns) Court jester and mediator with the spirit world. ogre kachinas – the Nataskas – wearing masks with long wooden snouts and brandishing saws or knives. but the Hopi pantheon is largest – more than 250. Runners grab as . The last moments of the drama can be ones of almost pure religious insight. or themselves. The occasion is not without apprehension. Let us describe a kachina festival – Powamu. The ritual dancers pretend they are invisible. the bestknown Hopi clowns. brightcolored sashes and freshly painted masks. The pile of reptiles. The masterworks of the best carvers can be seen only in museums and private collections. hair tied in two "horns" flagged with cornhusks. or freshly boiled corn-on-the-cob. forgetful of tradition. All the townspeople gather on housetops to watch. Kachinas take many forms – demons." who soothes the serpent with a feathered wand. either the following year. a majestic figure garbed in white. varying in size from a few inches to two feet. to return. At night. Some Hopi and Zuni craftsmen carve authentic kachina dolls for sale. Wailing youngsters clinging to their mother's skirts are "ransomed" with offerings of cornmeal. About a dozen priests dance with snakes. birds. Food collected in this way is distributed to the villagers and to the priests who spend much of their time in religious ritual. for the Hopi must consider the possibility that the gods may not return. bringing a basket of cornmeal. Snake society Fearsome painted priests of the Snake Society. growling a chant that seems to come from the bowels of the earth. punishment for incest left them coated with mud. Flickering firelight plays on costumes and glistening body paint. Their guessing games and balancing acts please the crowd. then cast them in the plaza. splendidly arrayed in kilts. scurry about. Nothing exists for them but the sacred drama. perform a Stone Age ritual to bring rain and an abundant harvest to the parched Hopi mesas. anthropologists. entertain at ceremonies mocking tourists. and disrespectful of their elders. In ghostly black-and-white makeup. halfway within the earth. On the sidelines other priests undulate.Most Pueblos recognize kachinas." is sprinkled with cornmeal by Hopi women. Suddenly other kachinas. To the sound of the sacred songs and sometimes to the hypnotic beat of drums. neighboring Indians. hence the name Mudhead. In Zuni legend. the spirits once lived with the people and taught them how to conduct ceremonials.

but a prehistoric cult of the "plumed serpent" may have spread north from Mexico. beans. More often than not. Thus they had to sow seeds in several carefully selected areas to be reasonably certain that some plants would survive and grow.many snakes as they can hold and go off in the four directions. when the crops were in full bloom and no longer needed care. But the leggings worn by both sexes were of deerskin. the Snake Youth. The hunt was a sacred act as well as a search for food and clothing. The Hopis' irrigation system was rudimentary. squash – on plots assigned it by the village chief. as today. Rabbit fur was favored by men for the headbands that held down their bangs and for tying the long hair gathered in a knot at the backs of their necks. Then the entire hunting party retired to the kiva to make prayer offerings and to smoke the ritual pipe. Hopi snake handlers. For a long time they found nothing. Now the hunt had been sanctified. were of cotton cloth. view the sacred drama each year. and the hunters crept toward . Every household had several fields for each crop. the village crier called out the details of the event to the entire pueblo – when it would take place and what animal would be hunted – so that any men who wanted to could join. Tiyo. The men also hunted. on the Black Mesa. some farmers still had long walks ahead of them. and the men frequently used deerskin for their breechclouts. Thereafter. Theories abound. raising crops in the dry soil and celebrating the year-long round of ceremonies that they believed ensured health and prosperity for all living things. A man who wanted to organize a hunting party first descended into the kiva to make his prayer offerings to the patron deities of the game. suddenly. and even in those times. learned the mysterious rites in the underworld. According to Hopi legend. Hopi legend gave the animals an equal place with man in the plan of creation. blowing the smoke in the direction they planned to take: the fumes would. priests allow the rattlers to strike objects in the kiva before the ceremony. renewing life and faith in the ancient pueblo for another year. cameras have been banned since the early 1900's to protect the rite from further commercialism. along narrow trails cut into the crevices and breaks in the red-brown sandstone. a deer appeared. but if a bite does occur. The origin of the ceremony is unknown. and animals' lives could not be taken without the appropriate rituals and propitiations. remarkably free of fear. To reach the farming and hunting areas the men had to make their way down 600 feet of steep cliff. The Hopi believe their "elder brothers" will crawl down to the underworld and intercede with the rain gods. Once in the desert. How the Indians handle the snakes without harm (about a third are poisonous species) is uncertain. releasing their charges in the desert. The men's short kilts and the women's calf-length blankets. The World of Oraibi The Hopi pueblo of Oraibi. Then. "snake medicine" heals the wound. visitors have scarcely left the mesa when the skies open up and the rain comes. The time for hunting rabbit would come later. Oraibi is located atop the mesa. most likely. as well as neighboring Indians. is the oldest continuously occupied settlement on the American continent north of Mexico. Arizona. This village was here a thousand years ago. Their quest was as much for clothing materials as for food. A trip to tend and weed the scattered fields could take an entire day. The hunting party moved across the desert quietly. and it could begin. which they wore draped under the left arm and tied to the right shoulder. Throngs of tourists. then returned to earth with a beautiful Snake Maiden as his wife. The game sought was deer. even though much of the Hopis' wardrobe was made of cotton. in which priests feed the reptiles pollen and wash them in yucca suds. confuse their prey and make it easier to catch. the Hopis – whose name means “Peaceful Ones” – were following their tranquil way of life. seeking out its prey. Each household grew its own crops – corn. all members of the snake clan are their descendants. only a few white men have witnessed its secret kiva rites. The spectacular dance is the climax of a 16-day ceremony held in August. In Hopi belief. do not believe the reptiles will bite a man with a pure heart. so tradition told them. and basically they depended on the uncertain rainfall and seepage from the mesa slopes to water their crops.

When the mixture felt right to the touch. she set the pot to dry. and red – extracted from native plants. surrounding the animal. spreading ears of corn in a long row to sun so that they would remain dry and safe from ground insects. then she rolled small lumps of clay back and forth between the palms of her hands until they formed long coils. the women and girls of the family knelt at the trough. it was much more pleasant to work outdoors. Basketry had its place in ceremonial life. Basket making was a woman's task. Every household tried to keep at least one year's supply of corn in reserve in case the next year's harvest should be poor. The weaver could feel the warm sun on his body and watch the bustling streets of the village around him. they belonged to the women. The potter dug up the clay from a large deposit nearby. scooping up the corn. Women also ground the grain and cooked the food. Then she wove the supple branches of a desert plant called rabbit brush in and out among the overlaid twigs. sometimes adding specks of sandstone for strength. Other women were on the roofs busy at basketry. the hampers in which the crops were carried from the fields. another woman's task. and a purple so dark and gleaming that it seemed almost black. too. Every day. and it was up to every man to supply all his family's clothing. and rubbing it vigorously with the mano. This corn had been harvested the year before. Although the men planted and harvested the crops. Here at Oraibi. Some of the strips of rabbit brush were dyed the same colors that were used for cotton. The weaver first laid one group of sumac twigs side by side and then placed a similar group at right angles over it. On a summer day such as this one. carded it. trays and platters. spreading it on the metate. and occasionally they patted some meal on their faces to absorb the sweat. Then she carried the clay back to the village. the head-guards at the top of the cradleboards in which all Hopi infants spent the first three months of their and women of different pueblos fashioned their baskets by a variety of weaving methods. the paper-thin bread that was the Hopis' staple. in one house or another. but it was most delicious when dipped into a stew made of . and spun it into thread. and shooting their arrows at it. But the older men could work at the craft at any time of year. and yellow. the hunters closed in to club the dying animal. Weaving was men's work among the Hopis. it was placed on a flat basketry tray and shaped carefully into a conical heap. when the fields lay fallow. As the wounded deer darted this way and that. the women dyed it in bold colors – yellow. A few of the older men. A household had at least three metates. The younger men usually did their weaving in the winter. Piki could be eaten by itself. green. The men gathered the cotton. shaping the vessel as she went and pinching and smoothing the seams between coils until they disappeared. had remained in the village while the others were away. Basket-weaving provided many of the necessities of daily life: containers for corn. First she patted the circular base into shape. Along a wall in one of the rooms of every house were the metates – the grinding boards – stone slabs fixed slantwise into stone-lined troughs sunk into the floor. When she had finished. Women were at work on still another roof. But their age did not keep them from working. Roofs were also used for pottery-making. where children were playing and a number of women were cooking in the open-air ovens. searching frantically for safety. no longer up to the rigors of farming or of the hunt. With this assortment of materials the basket maker was able to weave intricate designs rich with symbolism into her work. giving form to the vessel as she wove. One room in every house was piled high with neat stacks of ears. They talked and sang as they worked. and the corn was passed from one to the next until it had been ground as fine as possible. the oblong grinding stone. black. forming themselves into a circle. who owned the seeds of everything the Hopis grew. baskets were often woven of wicker. Later she would fire it. Tall looms were all over the village—hanging from the inside walls of the kivas and from both the inside and outside walls of the houses. Once the corn was ground to the desired fineness. where she soaked and kneaded it until it was the right consistency. each of a progressively smoother texture. Now it was ready to be turned into piki. These she laid one atop another. she was ready to begin. red. a form of weaving for which this pueblo was famous. and it would then be ready for use. in all the brilliant colors of the Hopi corn – white. orange.

They had also performed the rituals that consecrated the new addition. and all their husbands and children. In every house were mothers. The second hole served as an entrance: Hopi dwellings had no windows or doors to the outside. never to look at a snake or even think of one. From the moment she knew she was pregnant. It took a proper duma as well. But the father's mother was introduced to her grandchild very early. Her duma was one of a woman's proudest and most valued possessions. the houses were the women's. The kivas were the men's domain. with the assistance of her attendants. The Spaniards had introduced the Hopis to one innovation the Indians found acceptable. Daily. This birth had been especially joyous: the baby was a girl – another woman to carry on the line. The birth had occurred three weeks earlier. and to spread the grease and the batter so quickly that the cook would not burn her hand. The men had already done their part of this task. the young mother had prepared herself with great care. wild sagebrush. When hunting was good. . Far down the street other Hopis were busy adding a new room onto one of the dwellings. and some dandelions. Then it was polished with cottonseed oil. water. and baked on a greased slab of sandstone. heated from below by a fire. milkweed. and all during her pregnancy she had worn her hair loose and carefully kept it free of knots. lest the baby be twisted inside her and come into the world feet first. she had prayed to the sun. the new young Hopi was set properly on the Road of Life. ready to be lifted off the stone between thumb and forefinger and rolled into a cylinder that soon became so crisp it crackled when eaten. Children – boys and girls alike – be onged to their mother's clan. With all these precautions she felt no fear when her labor pains began. It took great skill to bake piki – to know just when the duma and the grease had reached precisely the right temperature. covering the beams with grass and brushwood and a final coat of mud. Her father would not see her until she was 20 days old. at dawn. the women owned the dwelling places—and they ruled them. There she prayed until. This particular room was being built because one of the women of the household had recently given birth and the house was already overcrowded. That morning. Before the Europeans came. the paternal grandmother arrived to wash the baby's head and to take charge of preparations for the naming ceremony and the feast. and more rooms were constantly being added. one entered through the roof. Piki was made from a thin batter of cornmeal. There her father's mother and her mother prayed over the child. made of a special sandstone brought from a quarry more than 10 miles from the community. heated and seasoned with pinon sap and then treated with an oil. Women then plastered the inside walls with mud and finished off the roof. granddaughters. Then.squash. while the women filled in the chinks between them with mud. Now the Hopis made chimneys. They had brought the stones – quarried from the mesa – and the heavy wooden roof beams to the building site. These events took place 20 days after the baby's birth. daughters. a Hopi home had only a ventilator shaft in the wall or a hole in the ceiling as a vent for smoke from an indoor fire. Once the maternal grandmother had finished her chores. rabbit or deer meat was added to the pot. called a duma. The pots were fixed together with a mud plaster. sprinkling sacred cornmeal to mark its outline and placing eagle feathers at the corners of the house. The baker would dip her hand into the batter and quickly spread it over the stone. She had been careful. she retired to a room in the house. The duma was smoothed by grinding with coarse gravel. watercress. knocking the bottoms out of cooking pots and piling them one atop another. and bestowed a name on her. beans. In a moment the piki was baked. she brought her baby into the world. accompanied by her mother and other clan women. and men moved into their wives' homes when they married. and wood ash. descent was reckoned through the mother. Among the Hopis. Until then – and possibly for as long as 40 days – he would sleep in his kiva. Then the men dressed the stones and set them in place. Hopi households were always overflowing their space. to be handed down from one generation to the next. and the finished chimney inserted through one of the two holes in the roof. symbolized by the cornmeal that the father sprinkled in a path as the naming party carried her to the edge of the mesa. When the walls had reached their proper height. The grandmother severed the cord. Just as they owned the seeds. presented her to the rising sun. A knot would "tie up" the baby she bore inside her. just as she had been careful to see there were no knots in her clothing. too. taking some sacred cornmeal with her. the men heaved the roof beams into place.

She was never again to wear it – until her burial. however. One stricture was inviolate. weave baskets. she would welcome him into her arms. and the two would be married. She had only to choose her favorite among her several lovers. of course. they were introduced to adult work at an early age. She wore it once again during the first summer of her life as a married woman. Together. All Oraibi's young people had dumaiyas – usually with more than one partner. symbol of the rain cloud. where he could remain until shortly before the household awoke. In this encounter the youngsters were always victorious. bride and groom had their hair washed in a single basin. the style she would wear all her life except during pregnancy. There was. while the young man. Then the two young people made their way to the edge of the mesa to solemnize their union by offering prayers to the sun. as a bowl of food was placed on a nearby rock. both boys and girls were initiated into the mysteries of religion as members of Kachina cults. however: the boy and girl should never be members of the same clan. was laid over the face. The next day. The boys' puberty ceremony was more elaborate. When they finished praying. Mating with someone in the same maternal line of descent was sacrilege – a sacrilege so serious that the thought of it should never even cross young people's minds. the girl went to the boy's home. no shame attached to her condition. where the bride's mother dressed the girl's hair in the braids. a mock fight went on just outside. Only when the costume was finished did the couple move away from the boy's house to the one they would occupy for the rest of their lives – the home of the bride's mother. their triumph symbolizing their readiness for full tribal membership. leave it during the night. a girl would become pregnant. and made his wife a set of white leggings and a pair of white moccasins. but they were not coddled. At home the boys learned to weave. from which they emerged with their hair in two fat buns above their ears – the squash-blossom hairdress that signified they were of marriageable age. He spun the cotton and then wove it into two blankets and a white-fringed belt. death was part of the recurring cycle of life – another emergence from one world into the next – and the ceremonies that accompanied it were the simplest of all the Hopi rituals. with the head bowed between the knees. they returned to the groom's house. helped by his friends and family. name him as the probable father. the girl came out of the house. For the Hopis. she laid the marriage costume away in a basket. When they were eight or nine. and a cotton mask. involving tests of strength and courage as well as a mock battle between some of the grown men and the initiates. For the next several weeks the couple remained in the groom's house. Then the body was placed in a sitting position. If she liked him. Sometimes. For four days the women of the household mourned. while everyone else in her house was sleeping. wrapped in a blanket and bound for a dumaiya – a tryst with the girl of his choice. Sometime between the ages of 16 and 20 girls passed through a four-day ceremony of grinding corn in a darkened room. The corpse was carried out along the mesa to the spot where a rude grave had been dug. visiting the grave daily and placing bowls of food and feathered prayer sticks on it. Silently. he would make his way down the ladder and creep to her side. Small boys accompanied their fathers on the long trip down the cliff sides and were taught to farm and hunt. No one spoke as the body was lowered into the grave. As the girl worked in the house. Then the . if he so chose. But when the Niman Kachina dance was over. Once the match had been decided on. A man's body was wrapped in a deerskin. An adolescent boy could now sleep in the kiva and. a ceremony symbolizing the mingling of their lives. Small girls helped their mothers taking care of infants and learning how to grind corn. The boy's paternal aunts pelted his mother and sisters with mud and taunted them for permitting this snip of a girl to carry off their nephew. wove a marriage costume for his bride. to remain there for three days and demonstrate such household skills as grinding corn for her prospective mother-in-law. a woman's in her marriage costume. Parents objected to these practices only if they considered the dumaiya partner an unsuitable candidate for marriage. and make pottery. The girl wore her marriage costume as they walked to her house.Hopi children were loved and cared for. bake piki. with the taunting continuing. and although the children had ample time for play. when she watched the dance of the Niman Kachina – the first important ceremonial she was permitted to attend after her marriage. Laziness was a disgrace. and as the burial party made its way back to the pueblo.

But during the six months they were on earth – from the winter to the summer solstice – they assumed material form and inhabited the bodies of the kachina impersonators. the boys on one side and the girls on the other. The initiation ceremonies were held during the Powamu (February) festival. or to fail to observe the ritual fasts and the ban on sexual activity. the children had been introduced to kachina impersonators – beautiful ones who gave them presents when they were good. In the World Below. . would be to violate a sacred tradition. To be in any way immoderate or intemperate at that time. Among their most precious possessions were wooden kachina dolls. But not until they were about eight and were initiated into the Kachina cults did the children learn who the kachinas really were. these men – for the impersonators were never women – felt themselves to be kachinas. The children sat on the floor of a kiva. the kachinas were pure spirit. and costumed by the men. After being sprinkled with water. carved. It was always important for a Hopi to "keep a good heart" – to have only pure thoughts and to avoid quarrels – but it was essential when he was taking the part of a kachina. frightful-looking impersonators who threatened them when they were bad. and the Powamu (Kachina Chief) chanted a long song that told the story of the Hopis' emergence from the underworld. imbued with the qualities of these supernatural beings including all their power to intercede on behalf of the Hopis with their gods.women returned to their lives in the village. Hopi children learned about the kachinas early in life. each child was touched by the chief four times with ears of corn. and the soul of the deceased emerged into the World Below – there to live among the kachinas. painted. Whenever the impersonators wore their kachina masks and costumes. By the time they were old enough to toddle. where they lived for half the year.

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